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Natalie Dicou

May 03, 2017 12:00 AM

Lorris Betz, M.D., Ph.D., has been named interim senior vice president for University of Utah Health Sciences, CEO of University of Utah Health, and executive dean of the School of Medicine. Betz, who served in these three key positions from 1999 to 2011, will assume the roles while the U conducts a national search for a permanent replacement for the outgoing Vivian S. Lee, M.D., Ph.D., MBA. 

“Dr. Betz is well respected by university faculty, the community and national leaders in health care,” said University of Utah President David W. Pershing, Ph.D. In addition to his leadership roles in health sciences, Betz has also twice served as interim president of the University of Utah. “He and I worked closely together for many years at the university and I deeply appreciate his willingness to leave retirement to return to a position and an institution he knows so well. Dr. Betz is one of the most collaborative leaders I have worked with in my career and I am confident his seasoned leadership and understanding of the university will provide stability not only to our health care system and health sciences programs, but also to the university as a whole. His experience will also ensure important initiatives launched over the past few years, such as the transformation of our health sciences campus, will continue moving forward without interruption.”

During Betz’s 12-year tenure, he skillfully guided the university’s health sciences in its tripartite mission of providing world-class patient care, delivering outstanding medical education, and conducting transformative research. Dr. Betz’s Exceptional Patient Experience initiative helped U Health become recognized as a top academic medical center in patient satisfaction.

Speaking of Lee, Betz said: “In her five and a half years here, Dr. Lee has been a remarkable, innovative and courageous leader who advanced not only our health system but also the University of Utah as a whole. I believe that we have never been stronger, and I am personally committed to carrying that momentum forward. That is why I have agreed to serve as interim senior vice president.”

Dr. Betz served as chair of the Association of American Medical College’s Council (AAMC) Board of Directors from 2013 to 2014. He was named an AAMC Distinguished Service Member in 2012 in recognition of more than a decade of work with that organization. He has served on the Board of Trustees for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia since 2011 and he is currently the chair-elect.

Dr. Betz held faculty appointments in the University of Utah’s Department of Pediatrics, the Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, and the Department of Physiology. Prior to coming to Utah, he served as the interim dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Michigan. He served a residency and research fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco after receiving his M.D. and Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Physiology from the University of Wisconsin in 1975. He also has a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin. He was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree from the University of Utah in 2012.

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